Antikythera – Antikythera (Melodic Death Metal)

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I get a lot of promos nowadays. Too many even so sometimes I just have to review an album very late after it’s release (sometimes I skip it all together). Don’t get me wrong, I love getting a lot of promos I just wished I had the time to listen to them all and give all bands the attention they deserve. This is one of those albums that was sadly left behind. Being released late in 2016 Antikythera’s self-titled EP was a release many of you (me included) probably missed due to all the “album of the year” lists starting to come out. The name is after an ancient analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purposes.

Antikythera is one of the better debut’s I’ve heard in the melodic death metal filed in a long time. It’s full of wonderful solos (3.30 minutes into the opening track as an example) and the vocals got a lot in common with the legend Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity). That alone puts this EP above the average. It sounds very modern and heavy influenced by the Finnish and Swedish melodeath scene. It’s not just Dark Tranquillity I draw parallels to, it’s also bands such as Insomnium, In Flames, Kalmah and Children of Bodom (especially getting those vibes on the Vagrant Hearts track). None of these are your average metal bands but top tier acts I am more than happy Antikythera draws influence from.

The five tracks you get are good and offers a bit of variation in style. Some more heavy on the synth for example, some got clean vocals and you also got tracks more focusing on the riffs and solos. It might not be perfect but it’s a solid record. Take into the fact that this is a independent digital bandcamp release and a debut then you can guess that these guys can probably pull off a wicked full-length album in the near future. Antikythera’s self-titled album is out now on bandcamp. If you love the more modern Nordic melodic death metal then this is an album you will enjoy.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/antikytheraband
For fans of: Dark Tranquillity and Children of Bodom
Favorite song: Lightkeeper

Vorzug – Three (Blackened Death Metal)

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Being one of the shortest singles I’ve reviewed (three songs and total length of 15 minutes) I was afraid this would leave me with nothing to really review. I mean one or two bad/average songs and the single all of a sudden means next to nothing for me. Good thing is none of the songs are weak, they all deliver quite good blackened death metal! Before we start going into the songs let me give you some Vorzug background. Vorzug is an American band formed in 2014. The band consists of five members, where the core got a past in death/black metal band Lustmord. The band’s debut album Call of the Vultures reached #1 on both iTunes and Amazon. Whereas Three has reached Best Seller status on Amazon, reaching number one on their best seller list for both New Releases and Metal Releases. So the band certainly got a big following behind them already.

The Ever Living kicks off the single (keeping it simple, three songs so name the single Three) and Vorzug presents a varied style of catchy riffs, intimidating growls (high and lows) that does their black and death style justice. You get that old school death metal feel but with a nice fresh touch of black and death. Nocturnity gives more space to the bass player Rock Rollain as he rocks away to start it off. This is a more groovy style and pure old school death metal sound than the previous track. Ending Three we got Under a Dying Sun, here you get some furious blast-beats and guitar riffs coming at you and it ends the single on a high note, making it my favorite track.

Throughout the whole album I am a fan of their catchy riffs and dark melodies while yet keeping it quite brutal. The vocals are quite different and stick out for me, I had a hard time really digging it at first but it grew on me. All in all this is a solid release. It’s three tracks that are catchy which you will enjoy but maybe not remember. However it did get me wanting to listening to their full-length release and see how they do a whole album, so job well done.

Three by Vorzug is out now digitally through The Apollyon Entertainment Group.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vorzugmetal
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/VorzugOfficial
For fans of: Gruesome and Sulphur Aeon
Favorite song: Under a Dying Sun

Valhalore – Voyage into Eternity (Folk/Viking Metal)

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This is a journey, or as the album title says a Voyage into Eternity. Starting off with a storytelling voice and calm melodies it soothes the listeners mind. It eventually becomes a epic symphonic blast of melodies as it was Nightwish together with Eluveitie themselves recording this. Vocals ranges from the high and lows, growling and clean singing. With three members in the band sharing vocal duty it sure does give the album an extra twist and different ways of telling this story of Vikings. The ferocity in the music is like that of the berserker’s of old and the melodies clings on inside your head like the ballads from Blind Guardian or Amon Amarth. Across the Frozen Ocean for example really does make me think about the legendary song The Bard’s Song by Blind Guardian.

I get the feeling of going on adventures when listening to this album. It’s the sort of epic music that takes you to the epic worlds from Lord of the Rings, Witcher or Dragon Age. The use of various types of instruments like mandolin, cello and whistle puts that extra epic mark on Voyage into Eternity. To me Voyage of Eternity is the definition of epic folk music. Not only due to the use of various instruments with great melodies and riffs but also due to the great song-writing and great use of different vocals to deliver a sweet story. Plus the fact I love vikings, any story with vikings in it is a plus in my book!

Valhalore was a big surprise to me. It’s well produced and features so many elements I like in good music this is an instant classic for me. Fans of bands such as Ensiferum, Wintersun, Eluveitie, Blind Guardian and the likes take heed (and of course drink mead). Valhalore are here to stay and their debut Voyage into Eternity is one of the best releases so far this year. Voyage into Eternity is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: /www.facebook.com/valhalore
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/valhalore
For fans of: Eluveitie and Blind Guardian
Favorite song: Guardians of Time

Hellfire – Goat Revenge (Black Metal)

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There’s been a lot of black metal from me lately but I just am in that mood right now so why stop now? My black metal journey this past week has taken me from Portugal (Viles Vitae), Finland (Author), Brazil (Carpatus) and now to Ukraine with the band Hellfire. Hellfire was formed in 2014 by former members of Paranomia and quickly became a band of four but eventually went down to three members, Necrobaphomet on bass, Skullcrusher on drums and Karagh on guitars and vocal duty. Since then the band has kept working as a trio and had several live performances in Ukraine with good response. Goat Revenge is the bands debut EP.

Hellfire got a cool sound going with a varied mix of influences. The bands agenda was to create 100% pure metal based on black metal, inspired by old-school thrash and death metal. A feat they’ve done well I’ve got to say. It features the aggression and song-writing from the first wave of black metal, speed and grove from trash, then adding the melodic riffs from death to create this unholy beast. The songs are fast and furious, with the eight tracked album going full speed ahead during it’s 24 minutes. In a way I think the album is over too fast, that’s however a plus from Hellfire in a way since it means the music was good and it is an EP after all.

I had a good time with Goat Revenge. It was a bit different than the black metal I usually listens to and flirts with many old school acts. Hellfire’s debut EP Goat Revenge is out now through Witches Brew.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hellfireua
For fans of: Bestial Mockery and Impiety
Favorite song: Unholy Cult

Carpatus – Malus Ascendant (Black Metal)

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Hailing from Brazil we got a band that I personally hadn’t heard of before in Carpatus. The band was formed in 1999 and were active until 2010, same year their guitar and bass player Ravager (aka Lucas Mandelli) sadly died in a car accident. Five years later Dizruptor picked up the band again, this time as a solo project (Animus Atra didn’t rejoin and instead Carpatus used Morbus Deimos on session drums). Since the reformation Carpatus joined Black Lion Productions and have been getting ready to release Malus Ascendant upon the world. Malus Ascendant is the bands third full-length (notable that this is the band’s first worldwide release).

Straight away you notice the musical influences. Malus Ascendant got a lot in common with the more melodic side of black metal looking at bands such as Emperor and Satyricon. The album is full of great melodic riffs that’s easy to get sucked into, with badass vocals resembling some sort of hybrid between Infernus from Gorgoroth and Ravn from 1349. Take into account that Morbus Deimos does a great job on the drums and you got yourself a sleeper hit (to me it is since I’d never heard of the band nor this album before writing this). If you got a soft spot for tempo changing black metal with melodic touches that doesn’t sacrifice any of the aggression, then this is an album for you!

The album is produced by notable Brazilian underground producer Marcos Cerutti, and was later mastered in Sweden by the legendary Dan Swano. That in itself states the band doesn’t hold back and is a stamp of approval that this is great black metal in my book. Malus Ascendant is out now through Black Lion Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carpatus
For fans of: Emperor and Satyricon
Favorite song: The Cold Autumn Sunrise

Author – Lopun Alku (Black Metal)

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Author is a name many of you might not have heard. I personally didn’t know about the band until I saw the name on last years Mörkaste Småland (black metal festival in Sweden) lineup. Back then the solo project of J.V. had one EP on it’s name, Kuolevaisen kirous, which did receive a lot of praise for it’s old school black metal sound in the veins of Finnish legends like Horna, Sargeist, Horna and Beherit. Now the time is upon us to hear the sacrifice to hells forces, Lopun Alku.

When listening to Lopun Alku it takes me back to the 90’s. This is an homage to the lo-fi dirty sound that became black metal. It’s raw, hellish sound is something I sometimes miss and for many is a forgotten craft. You got the shrieks, blast beats and straight up black metal the way us old timers (if I can call myself that, not turned 30 just yet) remembers it. The songs build up, changing tempo when needed and makes the songs feel alive all the way through without losing it’s deadly edge. J.V. does have a knack for creating an atmosphere clouded in darkness and death I rarely see in new acts these days since most bands aren’t after that old school sound. I am sure the guys from Horna will be proud as this is a new Finnish wave continuing their legacy.

If you missed Author’s first EP Kuolevaisen kirous then make no mistake and get Lopun Alku. Good old school black metal is becoming a rarity these days so when it actually comes you make sure to support it. Lopun Alku is out now through Naturmacht Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorOfficial
For fans of: Sargeist and Horna
Favorite song: Lopun Alku

Evocation – The Shadow Archetype (Death Metal)

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With Evocation being one of my favorite death metal bands The Shadow Archetype has been a release I’ve waited for since it was announced. The album finally got released less than a week ago (when I write this that is) and I’ve been listening to it nonstop. The Shadow Archetype is everything I wanted it to be. It’s fast and heavy Swedish death metal at it’s finest! I was afraid the lineup changes would hurt Evocation too much and that The Shadow Archetype wouldn’t be on the same level as the rest of their crazy good discography. I am so happy I was wrong though, Evocation can’t be stopped and are as great as ever!

Condemned to the Grave and Children of Stone got some of the most memorable riffs and melodies I’ve heard from Evocation. Thomas Josefsson on vocals is just as good as he has always been, definitely one of the best in the business who always perform. Simon Exner (As You Drown) on guitar has made the loss of Vesa Kenttäkumpu an easy transition as he put up a massive demonstration of skill and I am sure many fans will welcome him with open arms as him and Marko Palmén make a killer duo. Gustaf Jorde has honed his craft since the latest release Illusions of Grandeur and the ex-Defleshed bass player fits right at home with Evocation now.

Those of you who love good death metal, the Swedish style with the kickass riffs and melodies that gets stuck in your head for weeks (Amon Amarth style) then you will need this album. Best death metal release so far this year and it will be hard to dethrone Evocation as they got their eyes set for death metal album of the year award already.

Evocation’s 5th full-length release The Shadow Archetype is out now through the American giant Metal Blade Records. Go get it while it’s hot metalhead!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EvocationSwe
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/EvocationSwe
For fans of: Amon Amarth and At the Gates
Favorite song: Condemned to the Grave